Heavy rains that lashed the North Suncoast this past weekend came at an especially bad time for Seven Rivers Golf and Country Club in Crystal River, where the 23rd annual Lollypop Invitational begins today.
The course was unplayable Monday and the normal practice round leading into the longest-running amateur women's tournament in the area was canceled.
"Holes 13, 16, 17 and 18 have water where they've never had water before, and the retention pond between 10 and 18 has spilled over its banks," Seven Rivers head pro Ross Kuntz said Monday. "The only time I can recall us having anything like this was Labor Day in 1988 when we had 22 inches of rain in less than 24 hours."
Kuntz said 14 inches of precipitation fell Saturday and Sunday. When eight members of the club's board of directors, the tournament board of directors and the club superintendent toured the course Sunday afternoon, it was apparent some changes would have to be made for the Lollypop.
Those changes likely will include the shortening of four holes as follows: 334-yard, par-4 No. 10 reduced about 100 yards into a par-3; 434-yard, par-5 No. 13 reduced about 200 yards into a par-4; 345-yard, par-4 No. 16 reduced to about 120 yards and par-3, and 308-yard, par-4 No. 18 reduced to about 100 yards and par-3.
In addition, the 9 a.m. shotgun start today will be moved back to 11 a.m. The final round Wednesday should begin at 9 a.m.
Glen Lakes' Shirley Henry is the pre-tournament favorite. She finished ninth with a 175 score last year, but plays to a 3-handicap.
The championship flight also includes Seville's Barbara Ragan, Silver Springs Shores' Judi Meador, Gainesville's Dee Dee Roberts and Brandon's Carlene Carlin. Other golfers with single-digit handicaps are Tarpon Springs' Peggy Ephraim, Leesburg's Nancy Brown and Brandon's Molly Mahoney.
Meador won the Lollypop Invitational in 1990 and tied for second with Roberts at 163 last year. Crystal River's Marge Hopkins, the 1991 champ with a 159 total, will miss the event as she continues to recover from an arm injury.
Benefit set at Plantation: Sjogren's Syndrome is a disease that attacks the body's fluids, beginning with the eyes and spreading to the sweat glands. If untreated, blindness will occur, then death.
Those two sentences near the top of a flier found in pro shops at courses in Citrus and Hernando counties tend to make a person stop and think about vision, one of the five senses normally taken for granted.
The flier goes on to say the disease is recognized and treatable in Europe, but not in the United States.
Area residents can help raise the level of awareness here by competing this Saturday in the 1992 Sjogren's Syndrome Golf Classic at Plantation in Crystal River. The tournament is a four-person handicapped scramble with shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. and an entry fee of $40 per player.
"There are 100,000 people in the world that have Sjogren's Syndrome out of billions," tournament director John Hartong said. "There's a treatment for it, but not a cure.
"All proceeds from the tournament will go to two doctors from Europe to come over and lecture on the disease itself and the treatment. We'll try to get them either to New York City or Gainesville."
Golfers may arrange their own foursomes. All participants should arrive at Plantation by 8 a.m. Saturday.
Gift certificates will be awarded to the top four teams as follows: $400 for first place, $300 for second , $200 for third and $100 for fourth.
A Beat-the-Pro putting contest ($1 donation) will be held on the main putting green after the tournament. There also will be a barbecue after play concludes.
Golfers may sign up in the Plantation pro shop (795-7211) or contact Hartong at 795-6168 for more information.
Team championship: Registration for the fifth annual Crystal Chevrolet Two-Man Team Championship is following a familiar pattern.
"It's a little slow," Citrus Hills head pro Pete Summers said. "There are so many tournaments from weekend to weekend that there doesn't seem to be a rush (to register). It's hard in September to send in entries for October, and that's not unlike last year or the year before."
Last year, there were 36 teams in the two-day event that went into sudden death. Plantation's Gary Pane and Joe Mullarkey defeated Inverness' Gail Roberts and Lane Cobb on the first extra hole.
The tournament will be conducted Oct. 17 at Citrus Hills (best ball of twosome with 90 percent handicap) and Oct. 18 at Plantation (Ryder Cup-style alternate shot format). A portion of the $150 per team entry fee goes to the Crystal River Boys and Girls Clubs, Summers said.
Golfers are entitled to a practice round with cart at each site the week of Oct. 12. There also will be food and beverage at both sites and individual hole prizes each day.
Summers said there will upward of $8,500 in prizes if there are 60 teams in the field.
To register, stop by or call the pro shops at Plantation (795-7211) or Citrus Hills (746-4425).
Midstate special: Time runs out Oct. 15 for golfers to get in on the special offered by the Midstate Golf Association.
Players may join for a $25 membership fee that permits them to play the balance of the 1992 season and all of the 1993 season (April '93-Jan. '94). A bag tag and computerized handicap will be included once golfers have played in enough tournaments to establish one.
The entry fee for each event is $25, with golf, cart and prizes included.
Call association director Bob Ahern at (904) 382-3980 for more information or to sign up. Evenings are the best time to call.
Rainout rescheduled: A tournament of the Midstate Golf Association was rained out this past Saturday at Pine Ridge and is rescheduled for this Saturday. It's for members only and the same two-man quota format will be used.
Friday's regularly scheduled event at Spring Hill is still on. There also will be a two-man, best-ball gross and net tournament Oct. 17 at Inverness at which members may bring a guest.
Chamber/Lions tourney: Openings remain for the Homosassa Chamber/Lions Scramble Golf Classic set for Oct. 24 at Plantation. It's a four-person event for men and women, and all proceeds will go to the local Blind & Scholarship Fund.
The $40 per golfer entry fee is 50 percent tax deductible. Lunch is included for players, or it may be purchased for $4.
Gift certificates will be awarded to the top three teams as follows: $400 for first place, $300 for second, and $200 for third.
For applications, stop by the Plantation pro shop or Homosassa Area Chamber of Commerce office. Call 628-2666 for additional information.